The Duke Blue Devils, playing their fourth game in a week, turned to their deep bench to subdue the testy Big Sky-entry Montana Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon in Durham, NC.
Spotting the Grizzlies a 13-9 lead, Duke went on a 24-4 run to gain the upper hand and they kept it the rest of the day. The final score read Duke 78, Montana 58.
Particularly impressive in the duel was 7'1" center Brian Zoubek. "Zube The Cube," as he is known in some circles, followed up his solid New York City showing with a surprisingly effective defensive effort.
The giant Zoubek patrolled the middle, intimidating the Grizzlies whenever they dared to challenge Duke's suffocating pressure defense by driving inside.
The "Big Z" helped the Blue Devils control the boards 42–26, a very impressive performance considering the Grizzlies' front-line at times featured seven-foot twin-towers Derek Selvig and Brian Qvale along with 6'9", 245-pound Jordan Hasquet.
Ryan Staudacher came in as the leading scorer for Montana this season with an average of 16 points a game. Duke's defenders, particularly Jon Scheyer, held him scoreless.
After his Grizzlies coughed up 20 turnovers, head coach Wayne Tinkle observed, "Duke will trick you. They will trick you into thinking you've got something, then they fly at you, and you have nothing." He then added compliments to the Duke program and fans.
Duke's double dose of dynamite on the perimeter, point guard Nolan Smith and wingman Gerald Henderson, led the Blue Devils in scoring with 14 each. Each displayed spectacular offensive moves worthy of highlight reels, but still operated inside the "Duke system."
All–American candidate Kyle Singler added 13 points, while the ever–dependable Scheyer chipped in with 12.
The impressive showing had some in the stands discussing the possibility that this could be the best overall team Coach Krzyzewski has put on the court since the 2001 National Champions.
Time will tell.